Author Topic: Review of The Linden 'Method'  (Read 5759 times)

[Buddie]

Review of The Linden 'Method'
« on: November 26, 2015, 08:34:11 am »
Hi all,

I recently came across 'The Linden Method' (TLM), knew nothing about it, and thought I'd have a look into it. A cursory read around the Net threw up some red flags for me. Of course, 'methods for managing anxiety' is a subject which interests many of our members, so I checked for instances of TLM being discussed at BB - there were quite a few of them over the years. Although such threads at BB have been fairly infrequent, and the response to the product has been, on the whole, pretty muted, I thought I should look into this further. When I read the 'method' in more depth, I realised that our members really should be warned about this product.

I do not propose to disallow discussion about TLM at BenzoBuddies, but we will remove links to the product (not that this has been an issue so far). Despite the claims made by TLM, there have been no scientific trials into efficacy, and TLM do not have accredited psychotherapists working as part of the package. Further, in the UK, TLM has failed to comply with the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) about their use of baseless claims in marketing literature. Although it is not unusual for companies to fall foul of the ASA, it is very unusual for one to refuse to comply with ASA rulings. This is another reason to not trust TLM.

In addition to TLM not being scientifically scrutinised, false claims about their 'registered psychotherapists', and false advertising, Charles Linden (not his real name, by the way) demands that his customers do not consult with their doctors, and he rubbishes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as unscientific, when in actuality and objectively, it is one of the most effective therapies in the treatment of anxiety. Further, without even a hint of embarrassment, (by all accounts) Linden then makes liberal use of basic CBT methods within his product.

There is little point in me writing further about this when others with infinitely more knowledge about anxiety management and information about the product have taken TLM to task. I will first point to some feedback comments about TLM at Amazon, including some rather unfortunate and telling remarks from Charles Linden himself.

This Amazon review is from someone called 'Andrew E'. His comments mostly consist of a quote from Prof. Salkovskis. The review does, however, set up later comments from Charles Linden. I've not read all the way through the comments - I became bored with Linden's refusal to supply the scientific data he claimed to hold for his product (I think I gave up around page 5 or 6 of the comments).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R22P9K96N603K1/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0954980301

I instead decided to look up Professor Paul Salkovskis. Prof. Salkovskis is an expert in the field anxiety, and was asked by the National Phobics Society (now AnxietyUK) if he would review TLM. With Prof. Salkovskis's approval, a copy of his original review appears below. I then include links to each entry in his series of follow-up blog articles about what has transpired since his review was originally published in 2005, and one additional link to a review by AnxirtyUK about the decision by ASA regarding TLM's advertising practices.

I just wish to add, for anyone reading this who might have experienced some benefit from TLM, there is nothing to worry about. It would seem that, contrary to Linden's comments about CBT, TLM is grounded in CBT. And, despite Linden's claims about CBT being ineffective and unscientific, the opposite is true. For those who might be considering TLM, it seems that you can find other (and better) information elsewhere, for much less money or even for free.

I'd like to thank Prof. Paul Salkovskis for taking the time to review (and debunk) TLM and providing such a thorough update at his blog last year.

From:
psychonoclast's Blog
Mental Health, the NHS, Clinical Psychology and such


Quote from: Professor Paul M Salkovskis
The Linden Method: Review Originally published in “Anxious Times” in 2005/6
April 25, 2014

This review was carried out at the request of the National Phobics society (now re-named AnxietyUK). On re-reading it, I can recall straining to find helpful “nuggets” in it. Although I didn’t do this at the time, I would estimate that had I rated it I would have given it 1/10, and that one is for the “nuggets” which are as far as I can see, borrowed from elsewhere. It seems to me what’s new in TLM is not effective, and what’s effective is not new.
Several times it has been suggested that I had not made contact or allowed for the support offered by phone or on-line. This is, in my view, a silly critique. Even if we leave aside concerns about the credentials claimed for some of the support team.

Support for a programme of this kind would be to help the person experiencing the anxiety problem to better implement the programme as set out in the materials I had. My review was of the core, and would be entirely unaffected by any additional support which may or may not be accessed by those trying to make sense of the Linden Method.

Why reproduce this review now? Well, over the years various attempts have been made to suppress this review and people who have reproduced online it have been threatened with legal action (not by me!!) if it was not removed from their bulletin boards and so on, so I thought it would be helpful to put it somewhere where I am responsible for it. So here it is. Shortly I will be adding a longer post detailing some more recent issues with the Linden Method. But for now…

The NPS as was (AnxietyUK now) prefaced the print of my review with the following:

“Following on from the many enquiries received on the helpline on the Linden Method, we asked 3 people – 2 National Phobics Society volunteers (Rachel Fitzsimmons and Dave Davies) and a patron of NPS, Professor Paul Salkovskis to review the programme, Professor Paul Salkovskis review is as follows and has been chosen to be printed because both volunteer reviews were disputed by Mr Linden on the grounds that the first volunteer didn’t suffer with panic attacks and therefore couldn’t accurately assess the package. The 2nd volunteer review was rejected because Mr Linden felt that being a sufferer of an anxiety disorder wasn’t sufficient qualification to review the package”:

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence


Paul Salkovskis, Clinical Director, Maudsley Hospital Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma


The Linden Method



The claims made in this programme are bullish. We are asked to believe that this is the one true way to rid yourself of panic attacks, anxiety disorders and phobias. At one point it says that it is the only cure for anxiety. But before looking at the evidence for such extraordinary claims, let’s look at the process.
Firstly, one has to learn the “nine pillars”, read the material, do the visualisation exercise twice each day, do Tai Chi exercises as often as possible and do exactly what the Method teaches you. Confusingly, there are then two “powerful” elements; diversion which apparently re-balances the sufferer’s conscious logical thinking and subconscious habits. Secondly, the sufferer needs to breathe correctly and improve their posture.
So what are the nine pillars?
Stop visiting your doctor (and other doctors too)
Talk to your doctor about stopping the medication (confusingly as you are not supposed to visit them)
Stop looking for answers to your problems elsewhere
Only use the Linden method
Stop talking to other people about how you feel
Stop relying on other people for help with your feelings (which follows from not talking to them presumably)
Get rid of memories about your problem
Keep busy as a diversion (distraction)
Don’t allow anxiety to change what you do.

You don’t have to be a psychologist to see that 1-7 are all ways of saying “rely on the this method alone”. That leaves two pillars which are about not giving in to anxiety. Good stuff, but not good enough.

Interestingly for someone who says that the way to getting better is not to dwell on the details of your past problems, Mr Linden offers the story of his own problems in great detail in the “Nine Pillars” booklet. The story comes to its culmination when he received Cognitive-behaviour Therapy. His cognitive therapist taught him all kinds of useful stuff, which Linden applied and added to. I found myself musing about this. Why is this person, who benefited from cognitive therapy (and added to it in ways any sensible CBT therapist would encourage one to do) now taking the position that other people should not seek help from anyone except himself? I’m keeping my answers to myself, I’m afraid.

The Nine Pillars book then offers a reasonable account of the physiology of anxiety (although some of it made me wince). Nothing unique here, and certainly not the best account available. For someone opposed to the use of medication Linden seems very fond of biological accounts of anxiety. Oddly, although he seems to have benefited from cognitive-behavioural therapy, the cognitive component does not come through directly. For example, this early section on Panic Disorder he neglects to mention catastrophic misinterpretation of bodily sensations, choosing instead to suggest that the brain has been programmed to produce panic. Linden is also fond of diagnosis, and paraphrases the American diagnostic system as a way of describing anxiety disorders. This improves later as one listens to the CD based material, but the nuggets are well hidden.

The chapter on stopping anxiety has some good snippets, and Linden is fond of the idea of hyperventilation, resurrecting the old “brown paper bag” idea. Some other practical ideas are to be found in “diversion tactics”; these are good old fashioned distractions, varying from splashing water on the face to eating apples. Maybe he thinks an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so it fits with his first pillar? But there is another major problem here. He gives no consideration to safety seeking behaviour. This is a shame, because a lot of his “behavioural activation” stuff (meaning: don’t let your behaviour be changed, reach for the things you want) fits with current views on and evidence about the role of safety seeking in anxiety disorders. However, in places he is implicitly encouraging safety seeking behaviours. This in my opinion is further evidence that Linden’s science is, as best, muddled.

The supplementary materials are interesting. The introduction on the CD is a pleasant and slightly soporific lecture which re-iterates the positive message in the nine pillars book. In the interview which follows, we are treated to more of the same. The visualisation exercise is even more soporific. It follows the convention set by progressive muscular relaxation, and again is worth doing for its relaxation and distraction potential, if relaxation and distraction is what you need.

The “Panic Attack Eliminator” seemed more promising on the basis of its preamble. And I mean promising; the promise is there, right at the beginning; “this is the conclusive method for disarming panic attacks”. Apparently it can work on the first occasion, but might take up to three times. In the rest of this seven minute wonder, the sufferer is told that they cause their own panic. “Place every square millimetre of your body in my trust” Linden intones. Go with it, let it do its worst. Discover that it can’t do anything bad to you. At last, something resembling cognitive therapy! Not set up properly, but sensible. Fear of fear is emphasised, as are vicious circles. But they are not explained properly, and of course it is not fear of fear which is the problem in panic, but fear of the consequences of fear. Sadly, it is clear that this is not the conclusive method.
This is all a bit sad. One way of looking at it is that Charles Linden had cognitive behavioural therapy, found it helpful, embellished it and now markets it as his own one true way not just for the problem he had, but for all anxiety problems. It’s not.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is mostly sensible stuff for panic, and if it cost £5.99 at the bookshop, I’d be recommending it, suggesting that there might be useful snippets here and there.
My opinion is that it will be of no value to people whose anxiety is not fuelled by panic, and only limited value to most of those with severe and persistent panic. So would I recommend it in a limited way?
What makes any recommendation impossible is the cultic element. The explicit method is, use my method only (and pay my price for it). The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) anxiety guidelines are now available, summarising the best science. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice. The Linden Method has no evidence underpinning it and therefore doesn’t even make third choice for NICE, which is guided self help based on CBT principles. Charles Linden’s method is not evidence based, the science is flawed and the price is ludicrous. In essence Linden claims this treatment is novel and effective; sadly, it seems likely that what is novel is not effective, and what is effective is not novel. My title for this review is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence; there is no such evidence
Professor Paul M Salkovskis

Summary of an overview of the Linden Method: my contact with it, some facts and some personal opinion

1. Part 1 The History of my early contact with the Linden Method

Part 2: What else was happening in the meantime around the Linden Method?

Part 3: More recent events and Charles Linden’s critique of Paul Salkovskis’ previous review of the Linden Method.

Part 4: Linden Method support staffing offering “unlimited reassurance” and their professional “accreditation”

Part 5: Is there “science” behind the Linden Method?

Part 6 Linden Method “data”; or is it?

Part 7: Stop the WordPresses! More Linden Method Science….or is it? And “charitable” efforts too!

And AnxietyUK's review of the ASA decision (page 13):

https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Spring-2012-Anxious-Times.pdf
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 09:00:53 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 11:25:35 am »
Thank you [...].....acknowledged. :thumbsup:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 03:04:15 pm »
I had The Linden Method a few years ago. Decent enough to have in your arsenal of self help books but his method is HIS method. He claims to have gone through benzo withdrawal too. He does get into dietary changes and the possibility of candida. It's got some good info in there but I'm glad I didn't listen to everything he said: " Follow this program only..." Yeah, right. I sold my Linden Method package on eBay a year after I bought it. For about half the price.
I found better/deeper guidance elsewhere. 8)
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2015, 02:43:10 am »
Thanks for the warning...............
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2015, 03:24:12 am »
I ordered the digital version of the Linden Method about a year and a half ago in desperation.  Some of the advise on dealing with anxiety is valid, but what bothered me was his "my way or the highway" approach.  He preaches that you can never speak of your anxiety to anyone or ever look up any symptom you are experiencing on the internet and never go to the doctor.  He says to get a hobby and keep busy, in fact that is one of the main "pillars" that his method is based on.  I think what bothered me the most was the guy's arrogance and that of his staff.  If you ask any questions you are treated in a very condescending manner.  I decided to opt for the money back guarantee and was then given the run around and told that I must return, insured and by registered mail, the little paper "membership card" I had received in order to get the refund and it must be returned to the UK, even though they have offices in the USA.  That set me back about $16.00, but I did finally get the refund.  Steer clear.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2015, 12:35:46 pm »
There was ONE thing in his program that stuck with me: "Anxiety has absolutely no bearing or right to tell you what to do. Stop giving it power". And:"Anxiety is an inadvertently learned behavior". That last one I had to think about for a few minutes....and he's right. Although there is a biological connection to it as well, either way it can be reversed naturally. 8)
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2015, 05:16:30 pm »
There was ONE thing in his program that stuck with me: "Anxiety has absolutely no bearing or right to tell you what to do. Stop giving it power". And:"Anxiety is an inadvertently learned behavior". That last one I had to think about for a few minutes....and he's right. Although there is a biological connection to it as well, either way it can be reversed naturally. 8)

I like the quote about anxiety being a learned behavior -
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2015, 12:33:28 am »
There was ONE thing in his program that stuck with me: "Anxiety has absolutely no bearing or right to tell you what to do. Stop giving it power". And:"Anxiety is an inadvertently learned behavior". That last one I had to think about for a few minutes....and he's right. Although there is a biological connection to it as well, either way it can be reversed naturally. 8)

I like the quote about anxiety being a learned behavior -

Well, if it can be 'unlearned', it was necessarily learned in the first place - this is hardly a novel idea. I doubt there is is single 'truth' in that program which has not been borrowed from elsewhere.

https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=anxiety+learned+behaviour&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1y6nQ-sXJAhXijIMKHdtxAWoQgQMIITAA

What might be useful within TLM are any CBT principles it employs, which are about relearning/retraining/reconditioning thought processes. You can source CBT techniques very easily, for free, all over the Internet. Ironically, Linden rubbishes CBT as unscientific (even though it has been thoroughly researched, while TLM has not), and he then, apparently, liberally employs basic CBT precepts in his 'Method'.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 09:44:14 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2015, 04:23:22 pm »
There was ONE thing in his program that stuck with me: "Anxiety has absolutely no bearing or right to tell you what to do. Stop giving it power". And:"Anxiety is an inadvertently learned behavior". That last one I had to think about for a few minutes....and he's right. Although there is a biological connection to it as well, either way it can be reversed naturally. 8)

I like the quote about anxiety being a learned behavior -

Well, if it be 'unlearned', it was necessarily learned in the first place - this is hardly a novel idea. I doubt there is is single 'truth' in that program which has not been borrowed from elsewhere.

https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=anxiety+learned+behaviour&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1y6nQ-sXJAhXijIMKHdtxAWoQgQMIITAA

What might be useful within TLM are any CBT principles it employs, which are about relearning/retraining/reconditioning thought processes. You can source CBT techniques very easily, for free, all over the Internet. Ironically, Linden rubbishes CBT as unscientific (even though it has been thoroughly researched, while TLM has not), and he then, apparently, liberally employs basic CBT precepts in his 'Method'.

I appreciate the review of TLM - I definitely won't be going there! 
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Review of The Linden 'Method'
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2015, 04:48:31 pm »
Nobody really cares if Linden is his real name, if his team is accredited or if his method is backed up by scientific studies. 

A lot of people have been harmed by licensed doctors and therapists working by the book .  There are hundreds of "methods"and programs that you buy from the internet hoping that they will be the cure and they are nothing else but cbt techniques, stories and dietary advices . I do not see his book any different than wasting money on any of these or even a "real therapist" .

Here is a extras from the paper where he talks about cbt and his experience so this thread is just a big fuss :
"I decided to enroll the help of an anxiety
management councillor and contacted a cognitive
behavioural therapist, who had been highly
recommended by The British Association of
Psychotherapists. The Association was very helpful
and supplied me with a list of the best therapists in
the country. The Association recommended the
best in the area; it was pure coincidence that he
was based locally about fifteen miles from where I
live. Cognitive therapy uses a series of homeworkbased
exercises to reintroduce anxiety-provoking
situations and teach coping strategies to use when
feeling anxious. It also teaches you to alter your
thought processes and challenge irrational beliefs
about your anxiety.
After the first session I realised that the therapy
would be very helpful. The sessions also gave me
the opportunity to talk to an impartial third person
about anything that had contributed to my
condition. The exercises the therapist gave me to
do at home were simple but effective and soon I
was able to see past my symptoms, identify the
root causes of them and challenge them.
Cognitive Therapy is not like conventional therapy
where you sit and talk at someone for an hour,
you can do that if you wish but you will always
leave the session with a bag of tools to use when
at home. After only a handful of sessions I found
myself subconsciously using the techniques I was
taught , some of them helped me to cope with
every day life"


And if you are desperate or naive to buy his program and you're not content with it , you can get a refund which I doubt you can get one from the your doctor or psychologist .

« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 05:01:11 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.